ATLANTA (AP) -- The stars came out to see Shaquille O'Neal.
Instead, they got a show from Dwyane Wade.
Miami's star guard scored 31 points, handed out 11 assists and
had the most spectacular defensive play of the night, leading the
Heat past the Atlanta Hawks 99-93 on Wednesday.
Wade just missed the first triple-double of his career, also
pulling down eight rebounds.
"The good thing about Dwyane is, he gets his but he keeps
everybody else involved," O'Neal said. "That's the sign of a
great player, rather than taking 40 shots to get 20 points."
With Shaq in town, there was plenty of star power at Philips
Arena. Usher sat in the front row, fresh off his dominating
performance at the American Music Awards. Also on hand: actor
Samuel L. Jackson and rappers Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris.
O'Neal and Udonis Haslem each had 21 points for Miami, which
went ahead to stay, 85-84, when O'Neal dunked off a pass from Wade
with 5:51 remaining.
The Hawks closed to 92-91 on Kenny Anderson's three-point play
with 1:43 to go, but Haslem hit a jumper, Al Harrington turned the
ball over and Wade hit a couple of free throws to clinch it.
"Obviously, Wade was big," Atlanta's Antoine Walker said. "He
gets the other guys shots. What separates him this year from last
year is he's making the 15- to 18-foot jumpers. If he makes those,
he's a difficult guy to defend because he's so explosive going to
Wade's defensive stop came with about 8½ minutes remaining when
Jelani McCoy, a 6-foot-10 center, went in for a one-handed dunk,
only to get it stuffed back in his face by the 6-4 Wade.
"He's an athlete, man," McCoy said. "This is the NBA. Stuff
like that is going to happen."
The fourth quarter went back and forth, with three ties and
eight lead changes before the Heat took control.
Walker scored 22 points and Jason Collier had 20 for the Hawks,
but Wade was the difference. He shot 12-of-17 from the field, was
7-of-8 at the foul line and kept his teammates involved.
"One of us will make the shot," Wade said. "We don't worry
about it. We just keep shooting the ball."
Haslem bounced back after making just 3-of-17 shots the previous
night in a home loss to Portland. At halftime, coach Stan Van Gundy
drew up a pick-and-roll that freed up Haslem for some open looks.
"We just told him to keep shooting," O'Neal said.
The two worst free throw-shooting teams in the league both had
respectable nights at the line. The Heat was 23-of-32 (72 percent)
and the Hawks made 22-of-28 (79 percent).
Even O'Neal managed to crack the 50 percent barrier, going
The Hawks (2-9) are off to another miserable start, losing their
fourth in a row and falling to 1-4 at home.
"We've got to figure out a way to put it together for 48
minutes," Walker said. "We've got a good basketball team. For
some reason, it's just not there yet."Game notes
The Hawks had only 10 players in uniform. Guard Royal Ivey
(sprained knee) and center Peja Drobnjak (sprained ankle) didn't
dress, and former starter Boris Diaw didn't play at all. ... Even
though the Hawks were at home, they wore their new secondary road
uniforms, which are yellow with black trim and have "Atlanta"
emblazoned across the chest instead of the nickname. The Heat wore
their white home uniforms. ... Harrington was called for a
technical early in the fourth quarter. As he walked toward the
bench, coach Mike Woodson asked what he said to draw the official's
wrath. "I just told him he was the worst," Harrington replied,
shrugging his shoulders.
- Jim Clark
- Mark Wunderlich
- Michael Henderson